The Founding Fathers did an excellent job in creating the U.S. Constitution and the framework by which the three separate branches of the government, the presidency, the Congress, and the judicial, were to function.
But, as proficient as these Founders were, they weren’t perfect and, unfortunately, made a couple of very serious mistakes when they devised the U.S. Senate and the electoral college. Those two parts of the government have now evolved in a way that, if not reversed, will bring our democracy to the brink of disaster.
Let’s discuss why they have become problematic. First the Senate: If the Founders could see the U.S. Senate and how it is functioning today they would be utterly shocked and in a state of disbelief.
The Senate has turned into a useless, malfunctioning part of this government. Republicans, in particular, have only one objective, to block every piece of legislation that Democrats try to pass by using the filibuster.
Meanwhile, Democrats are in a state of confusion and disarray. There is a battle going on between House progressives and moderates over infrastructure legislation.
To get critically important legislation passed, Senate Democrats could either kill the filibuster or modify it but their two rogue politicians, Joe Manchin and Kristen Sinema refuse to approve either of the options.
The Founders’ very serious mistake in creating the Senate? They decided to have two senators represent each state regardless of the state’s population – totally nonsensical. The Founders did that because they acceded to the immense pressure they were getting from small states that were fearful of being dominated by the larger states.
Based on their bad decision we now have a situation that is contributing immensely to making the Senate extremely dysfunctional. California with a population of 40 million has 2 senators and Wyoming with a population of 600,000 also has two. Florida has a population of 22 million while Alaska has 750,000, and each has 2 senators.
We have now reached a point in which it appears that the U.S. Senate will remain in permanent gridlock. The two parties used to be able to work in a reasonable nonpartisan manner but now have totally different ideologies, the middle ground is gone, and “never the twain shall meet.”
While the chances of it happening are slim to none, the Senate should be abolished and its work transferred to the U.S. House which can easily incorporate Senate functions along with its own. The House’s responsibilities would be expanded which is not a problem because that body has 435 members, it has no idiotic filibuster, and it better represents the American people using majority rule.
This would be a tremendous move for the better, for time and again good, solid legislation that the American people overwhelmingly supported passed in the House and died in the Senate.
A state’s total number of members in the House can indeed, at times, be somewhat distorted because of the practice of gerrymandering that one party in control uses to beef up its membership in that legislative body. That’s a problem of course and something that must be addressed at some time in the future.
Now to the electoral college. What the Founders did when they created the electoral college is beyond comprehension. It’s very similar to what they did with the Senate in that also is a serious misrepresentation of the American people.
Briefly, here’s what the electoral college is and how it works. It consists of 538 electors and a majority of 270 electoral votes is needed to elect a president. Each state has the same number of electors as the number of its members in the U.S. House plus 2 senators.
Here we go again with that “2 senators from each state” decision which constitutes gross misrepresentation of the people.
While majority rule does should not be used in all matters involving the government and the American people it clearly should be the standard in the U.S. Senate and national elections. Most of the Founders had an aversion to majority rule because it’s said they mistrusted the peoples’ decision-making abilities.
Think that the electoral college is not a misrepresentation of the American people? Well, in the 2000 presidential election Al Gore won the popular vote by about 500,000 votes, but George Bush won the electoral vote.
Then in 2016, Hillary Clinton beat the half-witted Donald Trump by some 3 million popular votes. But he won the election with 304 electoral votes to her 227. That’s a travesty and that’s why the electoral system must be abolished and replaced by the popular vote. That was a case where the electoral system awarded the presidency to Trump, the most dangerous president in modern history.
So, what other parts of this crumbling government infrastructure must be rebuilt when the massive rebuilding of the Senate and electoral system is finished successfully? While one could list a hundred or more we’ll just discuss a few:
Corporate America controls Congress with endless $$$$. Pass legislation to remove Corporate America from all connections with Congress. Then, where would $$ come from? Public donations, government funding, anywhere except Corporate America.
There are about 13,000 lobbyists in the Washington DC area. Just like Corporate America, there is no place in the government for them, get rid of all of them.
Before being approved as heads of agencies and other high-level positions candidates would need to have their qualifications and experience checked and approved. Those not qualified and lacking appropriate experience could not be approved.
We now know, after watching Trump’s actions and behavior while in office, that there must be some kind of basic mental tests, not full mental exams, for any party’s candidate for the presidency.
For the sake of this discussion let’s say that sometimes the restoration of some part of the infrastructure is mental, rather than physical. In that case, the most important part of an infrastructure program would be to restore the principles of ethics and morality into the minds of our Congressional representatives to get them to conduct their business in an ethical, honorable manner, putting the interests of all Americans above their own.
Of course, I would agree that this restoration of the honesty and integrity of those who represent us in Washington DC would be a very difficult, if not impossible, task. But, let’s put it this way, if we cannot find any possible way to do that, then it’s only a matter of time until our democracy is no more.